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Hegarty of drf.com
Koch was appointed to the position at a time when The Stronach Group is attempting to implement policies that would lead to reductions in injuries and fatalities at its racecourses. Among a number of other racing properties, The Stronach Group owns Santa Anita Park, the racetrack that was thrust into the public spotlight earlier this year after a spate of racing and training deaths.
In a release, The Stronach Group said that Koch will “work with the company’s executive leadership and the general managers at all Stronach Group racing properties to implement and maintain global best practice safety and integrity standards for horse and rider welfare and will be responsible for the coordination of national racing operations.”
Koch has been the executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance since March 2015. The alliance is an industry-funded effort that allows racetracks to be accredited if their policies and practices conform to a set of best practices developed by the group.
Prior to that position, Koch was the vice president of Thoroughbred racing for Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, where he was known for his analytical skills.
Koch is the second hire by The Stronach Group since the track shut down its racing operations at Santa Anita for three weeks in March to delve into the potential causes of the injuries at the track. In April, the company hired Dionne Benson, the director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, as its new chief veterinary officer.